The Godfather of Fair View

Downtown Chicago 1906 near Abraham's hotel.

In 1922 Sebastian Smith sold his remaining farm and orchard land to Abraham F. Botto and his wife Katherine, both of Chicago.  Based on 1890 census data Abraham was born Antonio Botto, and at that time was a Chicago saloon keeper.  A vignette of him is found in Best’s Insurance Reports 1902: “Botto, Abraham F, is one of three heirs of a wealthy Italian, who left property valued at several hundred thousand dollars.  He formerly ran a saloon at 331 W Madison street but has retired from active business and is now engaged in looking after his property.  He lives in the second story of a frame building on W.  Madison street over a cigar store in property owned by himself and also owns the La Fayette Hotel at the corner of Madison and Des Plaines.  He is estimated worth $50,000 clear.”  In October 1903 he married Katherine Schomer, who was then 37.  Nineteen years later they would be credited with developing Smith’s Landing and adjacent land into a plat of 145 lots in Section 14 of Watervliet Township, and naming it Fair View.  The plat was bordered to the south by  an unnamed  bay at the natural outlet of Paw Paw Lake, and to the north by what is now Bluecirclefarm.  Unfortunately Mr. Botto did not survive to sign the dedication of the Plat, filed June 23, 1922 and signed by Katie Botto (widow) as proprietor.  He has been credited with designating nearly 800 feet of beachfront as “Sunset Park”.    A small portion of this park remains open to the public as a Watervliet Twp. park.

1922 Plat of Fair View, Paw Paw Lake


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